Photoshopped photos have often been the subject of criticism about their skewed perceptions of reality and beauty. Lena Dunham’s recent shoot for Vogue joins in the discussion, especially when the public can compare the original photos to the re-touched ones.
Jezebel.com has access to six “allegedly unaltered images” that clearly the show the changes the photographer, Annie Leibovitz, and the creative team at Vogue decided to make. These images, juxtaposed with the copies that actually made it into the magazine perfectly demonstrate how women are expected to be perfect while men can be a little rough-around-the-edges.
In one shot, Dunham sits seductively on the side of a tub as a male model lounges inside. She is in a simple black dress and pumps staring at the camera. The un-retouched photo shows, however, that the creative team drastically altered Ms. Dunham for the final photo but did not do much the male model. They added more length to Dunham’s neck, took out a line near her mouth, cleaned up her jawline, made her waistline more narrow, removed a shadow on her elbow, and even smoothed out her hands. They also lifted the neckline of her dress and changed the shape of her cleavage. The male model, Adam Driver’s only change was a shift of his leg so it came out of the water. No one retouched his face or body.
Everyone is entitled to his or her artistic freedom, but the changes to Lena Dunham’s final photos make it seem like there is something wrong with the original shots, which were beautiful enough on their own. Magazines full of photoshopped photos beg the question, what would people say if they just printed the original pictures? Would this change society’s perception of what is “beautiful?”